Saturday, 10 September 2016

Making data discoverable with figshare | Publishing blog | Royal Society


Stuart TaylorStuart
Taylor, Publishing Director at the Royal Society, outlines why open
data is an important part of scholarly scientific communication, and how
a new partnership with figshare will help Royal Society journals play a
more active role in making research data discoverable.

Datasets are amongst the most important and valuable outputs of
research – perhaps the most important of all. To derive the maximum
benefit from scientific research it is essential that datasets are made
as widely available and useable as possible. Despite a growing open data
movement in recent years with strong support from a number of
organisations (including the Royal Society)
most scientific datasets still remain unavailable to the wider research
community. There are many reasons for this. Gathering experimental data
is difficult and time-consuming and individual scientists have
understandable concerns about sharing precious datasets upon which they
plan to base future publications. Given the heavy focus of our research
assessment processes on published outputs, there is the ever-present
anxiety about being ‘scooped’ by competitors. But there are practical
problems too. The data infrastructure we have is fragmented and there is
no clear consensus about who should be responsible for data storage and
curation. Datasets are held in a variety of places including
established, disciplinary repositories, university datacentres or
supplementary materials files on journal websites. But most are still
held by researchers themselves in a variety of ways, none of which are
open for the benefit of the wider research community.

Figshare_logo svgThe
Royal Society has a requirement that all authors publishing in our
journals share the data and other research materials on which their
articles are based. Thus far, sharing has been via subject data
repositories, such as Dryad, Genbank and EarthChem,
or in the form of electronic supplementary material accompanying the
article. We are now taking this a step further and are delighted to
announce a partnership with figshare to make our authors’ datasets
publicly available, searchable and citeable in a single location – our figshare portal
– from September. Not only does this benefit the community as a whole,
but there are advantages for the individual creator of the datasets too.
Figshare allows the researcher to gain more credit for their work and
grow their profile. There is also evidence that data sharing can increase citation rates.

Mark Hahnel, founder of figshare said;

“I’m delighted that figshare has partnered with the Royal
Society on progressing their data plans. We have long been an admirer
of their forward-thinking attitude in this space and were delighted when
we featured in their ‘Science as an open enterprise’ report several
years ago. We look forward to a continued partnership, thinking along
with their plans for a more open academic agenda.”

From September, Royal Society authors with supplementary
material, including datasets, will have their files automatically
deposited in figshare. Further information about this process can be
found in the “Supplementary material” section of our
Author guidelines.

Making data discoverable with figshare | Publishing blog | Royal Society

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